BRECKENRIDGE — It started out looking like a blowout win for Sweetwater in the first half of its initial road game of the season.
But then it got a little scary in the second half against a Breckenridge team that refused to go down easily.
In the end, however, the Mustangs came up with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to stretch a five-point lead into a 33-14 victory.
Sweetwater — which began a three-game road swing that will also include games at Wall this Friday and Brownwood on Sept. 28 before starting district play — improved to 2-1, while Breckenridge fell to 0-3.
For most of the night, the Mustangs clearly looked like the superior team in spite of allowing a game-high 163 rushing yards by Breckenridge quarterback Pedro Ramirez.
Yet Sweetwater wasn’t assured of a victory until sophomore quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey scored the Mustangs’ final touchdown with just over three minutes left on an 8-yard run.
Jeffrey’s TD was preceded by his 18-yard run that gave Sweetwater a first-and-goal on its final possession after Breckenridge turned the ball over on downs deep in its territory. But Jeffrey’s passing was even more impressive. He completed his first eight throws and finished 17-of-22 for 227 yards and two scores, with no interceptions or sacks.
The TD tosses covered 47 and 16 yards and both went to another promising sophomore, wide receiver Bray Amos, who finished the night with seven catches for 104 yards. His two scoring receptions, incidentally, were Sweetwater’s first two receiving touchdowns of the season.
However, first-year head coach Shane Mobley’s team showed great balance while amassing 468 yards against Breckenridge, which along with the 33 points were a season high. Sweetwater also had 241 yards rushing with its new spread offense and the run game was vital down the stretch after the Buckaroos closed to within 19-14 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Sweetwater returned the kickoff to its 37, and the Mustangs needed just four plays to find paydirt. From Breckenridge’s 46, senior Ryan Linebaugh took a handoff from Jeffrey and found a big opening after cutting back to his left. Linebaugh easily won the footrace to make it 25-14, and Tadeo Canon-Masjoan kicked the PAT with 9:30 left. The defense held Breckenridge without a first down for the rest of the game, and Sweetwater was able to enjoy great field position on offense until finally clinching it on Jeffrey’s run with 3:02 remaining.
Sweetwater punted just once in the contest, and the Mustangs scored on their opening possession with a 10-play, 69-yard drive capped by a 9-yard run from Canon-Masjoan. Jeffrey then led Sweetwater on its longest drive of the year, one that covered 99 yards, to make it a 12-0 contest. Amos scored on a 47-yard catch-and-run after receiving Jeffrey’s throw around Breckenridge’s 20.
It was still 12-0 at half-time, but Sweetwater had two more scoring chances in the second quarter. A fumble at Breckenridge’s 2 ended the first, and a missed field goal after the Mustangs reached the Buckaroos’ 13 ended the second chance.
Sweetwater’s failure to cash in finally allowed Brec-kenridge to cut into the lead after the second half began.
After taking possession to start the third quarter, the Mustangs had to punt without making a first down. Breckenridge took over and immediately got into scoring range with a 41-yard pass from Ramirez to Este-ban Duran before scoring on a 23-yard Ramirez run with 7:29 left in the third.
But Sweetwater respond-ed on its next possession as Amos caught a 16-yard pass from Jeffrey for the TD. Canon-Masjoan’s PAT made it 19-7 with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
Breckenridge wasn’t fin-ished, marching 96 yards and scoring on Ramirez’s 26-yard throw to Chris Madison in the left corner of the end zone to cut the lead to 19-14 with 11:12 left in the game.
That narrow lead would not last long, though, as Sweetwater quickly regained a two-score advantage on Linebaugh’s TD run.
Linebaugh finished as Sweetwater’s top rusher with 83 yards on 11 carries. Jeffrey and Marquees Jen-kins rushed for 49 and 48 yards, respectively.
Sweetwater hurt itself by losing two fumbles, and also was penalized nine times.
“We’ve got to do better,” Mobley said after the game. “But it was a good win for our kids.”